Sock Knitting : Interview with The Sock Monkey

Hello to all!!!

Hope everyone is ok and have a great knitting plans for the weekend.

Today I’m going to talk about Sock Knitting. For me, sock knitting, has been a really difficult task to accomplish. I have the second sock syndrome and it’s frustranting. Its doesn’t occur when I knit mittens, only happens with socks. I also took a class on craftsy, Knit Original Toe-Up Socks by Donna Druchunas, but the second sock sydrome attacks again.

I have been watching lots of knitting podcast these days, and everybody loves to knit socks, so I think, maybe, I’m missing lots of fun. Don’t misread me, I love to knit the first sock, the second is the problem. One of my favorites podcast (Las Knitting Amigas) started a KAL on ravelry to make  2 socks at the same time. And the opportunity was there!!! This time it will be IMPOSIBLE to end with only one sock, also have some prizes so I will have the complete package !!!  I jumped into the KAL..

The design I chose was the Lace Stockings by Faina Gorbestein. I know,  you can think it is a not a beginner pattern, but I’m not a rookie in knitting, only in sock knitting (only in finishing the  second sock) and it is a long time queued pattern.. This is one of THOSE patterns who screams at you to knit it.

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I’m doing ok.. I will show you my progress at the end of this post. Since I’ve been knitting this pattern, many questions came to me,  so I decided to ask  an expert in sock knitting. The best teacher in this matter, for me, is Mr. Josiah Bain aka The Sock Monkey.. He is an 17 years old knitter designer, with awesome socks  patterns, and with a lot of great tips for beginners… Here is the interview, and I hope you find it helpful if you want to start knitting socks.

  1. You have been designing great sock patterns; when did you started sock knitting and then designing them?

I started the sock knitting process (which is much different than actually knitting socks) somewhere around 2010. The first sock that I knit was WAY too large to fit anyone, so I ripped those out. I seriously started knitting socks three years later, and then designing was the next challenge. I designed my first sock pattern in the summer of 2014, and I can say with assurance that that pattern will never be released to the public. Because it was terrible.

  1. Who is your favorite sock designer and why?

My favorite sock designer is Cookie A. She is innovative and creative and I cannot say enough good things about her. Her aesthetic is marvelous and I can sit there for sometimes hours flipping through her books.

 

  1. Which is your favorite sock book and why? Do you recommend it for beginners? If not, which book do you recommend?

My favorite sock book is Knit. Sock. Love. by Cookie A, the patterns, the photography, and the layout design is so inspiring. For beginners, I would recommend Ann Budd’s Getting Started Knitting Socks, which takes you step by step through both toe-up and top-down constructions, and gives different basic patterns for different yarns and gauges. I would also recommend The Knitter’s Book of Socks by Clara Parkes. I love reading her writing about the science of socks and sock yarn, and the patterns range from super simple to complex.

  1. For you, what is the perfect heel method?

I love a basic heel flap and turn, but afterthought heels fit my feet amazingly. It just depends on what type of sock I’m knitting, I think.

  1. For beginners, do you recommend knitting socks cuff-down or toe-up?

That varies. Sometimes beginners have trouble doing top-down, so for them, toe-up is the way to go. Generally, though, I would say that cuff-down socks are the better choice for beginners.

  1. What is the perfect sock yarn?

It really depends on the design. Most socks are great with a 100% wool yarn or a wool/nylon yarn. Recently, I have become enamored with Andre Sue Knits Cloud 9, which is a 75% superwash Merino wool, 25% nylon yarn. I am trying not to buy superwash yarn right now because of the harmful practices used by manufacturers, but it is so hard when the colors are so remarkable. I also love Quince and Co. Finch, a 100% wool fingering-weight yarn. It’s so springy and incredible.

I think I could go on about almost every yarn I’ve ever used for socks and say that it’s my favorite yarn, but I should stop.

  1. For me, getting the right gauge has been a problem with sock knitting; what is the best method to get the gauge?

As with everything in knitting, swatching is paramount for the success of a project. Because socks are knit in the round, to get an accurate measurement, swatching in the round is necessary. If you cannot get the right gauge, try changing what needles you knit with. Circular needles and double pointed needles sometimes give you different gauges; Metal and wooden needles definitely. You may also want to experiment with other yarns; there is so much variation in different yarns labeled as fingering weight.

  1. Which needles (DPNs or magic loop, etc.) do you prefer and why? Is there a difference between bamboo needles or metal ones?

I like my DPNs, just because they’re what I’ve been using since I began knitting socks. I sometimes use two circular needles, and only when I’m in a pinch do I use the magic loop method. Not because any of those methods are bad, just because I’m picky.

There is a marked difference between wooden and metal needles. Wooden needles “grip” the yarn, but the stitches on metal needles slide along much more readily. I use metal needles, because my gauge is too loose when I use wooden needles, and I cannot knit as fast with them as I can with metal.

  1. Do you have any other tips you want to share?

The obvious tip is check your gauge, but we’ve already covered that. The other thing that got me successfully knitting socks was learning about negative ease. Your sock should at least be 10% smaller in both circumference and foot length than the actual measurement of your foot is. This will ensure that your sock doesn’t slide every which way and helps add protection against your socks sprouting holes.

  1. For you, which is the perfect sock pattern for a beginner?

I really liked knitting Petty Harbour by my friend Rayna Curtis. If you don’t want to start with fingering-weight socks, I love the Rye pattern by tincanknits which is in DK. And, if you don’t want a basic, knit/purl pattern, I’d recommend Monkey socks by Cookie A.

  1. If I want to knit some of your sock patterns, with which one should I start with?

Whichever one you’d like to knit the most! I believe that if you want the finished project bad enough, you can knit just about anything, no matter what your skill level is. If you’re just starting to knit socks, I would not recommend starting with any of my cabled patterns like Meduseld or Tauriel or even Daydreamer. (I wouldn’t recommend knitting Daydreamer anyway; it was my first pattern released and one that I badly need to revise.) If you are comfortable with lace knitting, I’d start with Taj if I were you. I’m working on doing a really basic toe-up pattern for beginners, which will be out sometime in the (hopefully near!) future.

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Taj socks by The Sock Monkey

  1. Recently, you released Herlighet, a beautiful shawl with some awesome pictures. Congrats! Tell me about that designing process and the inspiration.

The stitch pattern was actually the first thing to be fabricated; I came up with it while experimenting with all-garter stitch patterns that could actually be detailed and interesting. After considering what I was going to put it in, I decided on a shawl.

I wanted to do a couple of patterns named after both of my great-grandmothers, and I decided that this stich pattern would be perfect for one of those. Thus, it is named after my great-grandmother, Gloria.

Herlighet was interesting for me to design; it begins at a lace border, and then short rows are worked in garter stitch to create an appealing crescent shape. And it was exciting to release; there is an actual kit with the pattern and the yarn at Toil and Trouble, which is a first for me. There are also no purl stitches whatsoever in this shawl, which I love.

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  1. What is next?

I have a free pattern coming out May 16th, called Gyre, for Wei Siew’s Sustain the Sea initiative. I love this design, and I’m happy that it is finally getting published, as I have had it on hold for a year. I’m also working on a few big projects that I cannot say too much about yet, but will definitely keep you posted on.

Stay tunned at The Sock Monkey blog for Gyre news!!!

I  hope you find this interview helpful and start knitting your socks.. For me, this info is priceless and I’m very grateful. Now is time to show my progress in my sock knitting Project. I’m almost ready to start the heel.. The deadline for the KAL of the Las Knitting Amigas podscast is on 31st of may, so I have half of a month to finish (just one day before my B-day!!!). Wish me luck!

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Have an Awesome weekend!!!!

Don’t forget, I have 30% discount in selected patterns, no coupon code needed, until 31st of May. Please check them here.

With Love, Marce

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Gift-A-Long day 4

Hi!!

Days past super fast…But you have until friday to get a pattern with 25% discount!!!

Today I going to talk about the designer who put this event together. All the participant designers deserves some credit, but this 3 designers, put lots of effort to make a really nice and coordinate event for all of us.

Lindsay Lewchuck is a US designer and her site is KnitEcoChic . She have tons of beautiful patterns. Her patterns are easy to wear, timeless and they fits great in any kind of wardrobe.

 

Nina Machlin she a US designer and hesite is Nina Knits. Her designs are very minimalist and elegant with great details. With one of her patterns you can’t go wrong with your X-mas list.

Simone Kereit she is originally from Switzerland, but she lives now in the US. Her site is Owl Cat Designs and she also blogs about food an healthy lifestyle at Simple Healthy Homemade. her designs are beautiful.. I love how she use color in her designs. The patterns are classy, timeless and gorgeous!!!

 

There are  many other designer who really put lots of effort in this event, so my congrats to all of them too. Thank you to all the designer who participates and makes this GAL2015 rocks!

With love, Marce

 

Buttons or not Buttons?

This is one of the main questions when you decide to design a cardigan (or just knit one). Just, because implies things such as buttonband, buttonholes and choosing buttons (correct weight, correct color etc). Today, I’m going to talk about choosing buttons for a project.

There is plenty of buttons in market, different shapes, materials, colors, etc. I have a huge collection of them, but now I’m going to show you those I found in non-traditional places. I love these buttons because they tells stories and bring me back memories of travels or persons who has giving them to me.

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These buttons I found it, 15 years ago, the first time I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the San Telmos’s Antiques Market, they cost me a penny (less than a dollar), and they were from an old pearl button factory, who has closed in the sixties. I use them a in a lot of project, and I regret not having bought more. I’ve been in Buenos Aires several times, and never found them again.

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The first button picture are gifts from my family and friends who has  bought to me different buttons in local craft markets, were they have been, some came from Pucón, Icalma lake, Villarica etc, and they are made with native trees wood. The second one, I bought them in a local craft market in El Bolsón and I had to smuggling them because we are not aloud to bring wood from Argentina.

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You also can make your own buttons, I have the machine, but you can go to your local craft store or to your tailor, and they can make them for you. The fun here is you can recycle some old clothes or buy some beautiful fabric (e.g. quilting fabric) and make the size of button you want.

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I found this in my LYS, a few month ago, they are ceramic buttons, but they are very light weight, so they can be used in knitted fabric. I think they are very fancy, and I love the bright colors of them.

Last week, I finished a cardigan, and I wanted buttons to stand out of the cardigan, so I remembered the ceramic buttons I has bought, but they were to big for my cardi, so I went back to my LYS to buy a similar button but small.

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I bought these beautiful heart shaped ceramic buttons, but the problem was the artist only make 2 of them and I needed 7, so I had to improvise. I really love the shape and the color was exactly what I was looking for, so I bought all heart shaped buttons who has the pink color on it.

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I use them mixed in the cardigan, I’ll not show you the complete cardigan because is not up in Ravelry yet, but Im going to show you some parts, so you can get the idea.

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They look very well together, despite the fact that they are all different designs, that is because they share color and shape.

So, when you choose buttons, be creative, it can be a plus for your knitting project. And there is lots of sources where you can find the right button to your project (vintage stores, craft markets, old clothes) and if you don’t find they right color, you can also paint them or dye them (that’s for another tutorial). Don’t get stuck because of a button! 🙂

With love, Marce

Naepolitan Ice Cream!!

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Winter makes me want ice cream, I don’t know why, but when more cold is the weather, more ice cream I want to eat. With the fixed idea of a naepolitan ice cream I started to design this cowl to avoid eating sugar, I guess.

This pattern is a convertible scarf-cowl, worked with color blocking and an easy cable pattern. Its a fast knitting Project, great for gifts. Depends of your color choice, this pattern works great for male and female users.

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Pattern Details

Finished Measurements
8”/ 20cm width
76”/193 cm long
Yarn
477yds/437m of Sport Weight yarn.
Shown in
The Fibre Co; Road to China Light
65% Baby Alpaca, 10% Cashmere, 10% Camel, 15% Silk; 159yds/50grams per skein
Color A: Rhodolite
Color B: Blue Tourmaline
Color C: Topaz
Needles
1 set of 6US/ 4.0mm single pointed needles.
1 DPN needle number 6US/4.0mm
Notions
Tapestry Needle
6 stitch Marker
5 Buttons
Gauge
20st/26 rows = 4”/10cm in Stockinette.
Take time to save time.
Make the Gauge sample!

Enter de code: 80skeins and get a 30%off (valid until 31 December)

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